A robust serological test to detect neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 is urgently needed to determine not only the infection rate, herd immunity and predicted humoral protection, but also vaccine efficacy during clinical trials and after large-scale vaccination. The current gold standard is the conventional virus neutralization test requiring live pathogen and a biosafety level 3 laboratory. Here, we report a SARS-CoV-2 surrogate virus neutralization test that detects total immunodominant neutralizing antibodies targeting the viral spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain in an isotype- and species-independent manner. Our simple and rapid test is based on antibody-mediated blockage of the interaction between the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor protein and the receptor-binding domain. The test, which has been validated with two cohorts of patients with COVID-19 in two different countries, achieves 99.93% specificity and 95-100% sensitivity, and differentiates antibody responses to several human coronaviruses. The surrogate virus neutralization test does not require biosafety level 3 containment, making it broadly accessible to the wider community for both research and clinical applications.